The Association for Advancement for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the National Wildlife Federation released a document two months ago detailing how to create an Eco-Reps program on a college campus.
What is an Eco-Rep, you might ask? Eco-Reps (short for Eco-Representative) are student leaders and educators who engage other students on college campuses around sustainability. From its start at Tufts University in 2001, Eco-Reps has grown to include over 60 programs operating on campuses across the U.S. and Canada. These students participate in trash audits, sponsor energy saving competition among campus residents, and encourage fellow students to make changes in their lifestyle to promote sustainability.
The word “eco” originates from Greek, and means “home”, an idea central to the eco-reps program. These students are intended to live in dorms and engage around sustainable living practices – like an “eco” RA.
Quoting the newly published Eco-Reps guide:
The main motivation for the creation of such programs is a desire to extend outreach efforts for issues such as waste reduction and energy conservation to a broader student audience, beyond those students that are already “eco-minded.”
So, if we, sustainability coordinators in higher education, want to reach beyond “the choir” (those students who are already engaged with sustainability), should we be distinguishing between normal residence training and “Eco-Reps” programs?